Which Tests Are Included in Routine Pet Exams?

As a pet parent, ensuring the well-being of our furry companions is always a top priority. Routine pet exams play a crucial role in maintaining their health and happiness. They are the equivalent of a human’s regular check-up with a family doctor. But what exactly happens during these check-ups? What sort of tests should you expect? Here’s a deep dive into the routine tests and why they’re important for your pet’s health. It’s less about the clinical and more about the care, so let’s get to it in simple terms we all can relate to.

Physical Examinations: The First Step

Pets can’t tell us how they feel, but a thorough physical examination can speak volumes about their health. This is where the vet starts, using their keen eye and experienced touch to assess your pet’s overall condition. Here’s what this typically includes:

  • Weight check: Keeping tabs on your pet’s weight can help identify obesity or sudden loss.

  • Eye and ear examination: To spot any potential infections or abnormalities.

  • Teeth and gum evaluation: Because oral health is a window to their overall wellness.

  • Coat and skin analysis: Looking for signs of allergies, parasites, or other skin conditions.

  • Palpation: Feeling the abdomen and other areas for unusual lumps or pain.

  • Heart and lung check: Listening for irregularities in heartbeat or breathing issues.

These checks lay the foundation for a comprehensive understanding of your pet’s health and can often offer immediate insights into potential health concerns.

Diagnostic Testing: Beyond the Surface

Physical exams are critical, but sometimes, we need to look deeper. This is where diagnostic testing comes into play, giving vets a chance to peek beneath the surface and really understand what’s going on. The following tests are commonly performed during routine exams:

Blood Work

Why is blood so important? Well, it’s like a highway of information flowing through your pet’s body. It can tell us about potential infections, organ function, and so much more. During routine exams, vets typically request:

  • Complete Blood Count (CBC): Highlights infections, anemia, and other blood-related conditions.

  • Biochemistry Profile: Offers insights into the function of organs like the liver and kidneys.

  • Thyroid Function Tests: Especially for seniors, to check for hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.


Another key player is a urinalysis, which involves checking your pet’s urine. This sneaky little fluid can reveal dehydration, kidney disease, diabetes, and even signs of infection or crystals.

Fecal Examination

Last but not least, in the trio of internal health checks, a fecal exam can uncover intestinal parasites or digestive issues. This often-overlooked test is a must for ensuring your pet’s gut health is up to scratch.

But how often should these tests be done? It really depends on the age and health of your pet, as well as their lifestyle. This is where a chat with your vet becomes priceless, helping tailor the testing to your pet’s specific needs.

Preventive Care Is Key

Prevention is better than cure, right? That’s why part of routine exams is about stopping issues before they even start. This includes vaccinations, which safeguard against common and often serious diseases. It also encompasses parasite prevention, keeping those pesky fleas, ticks, and worms at bay. It’s all about giving your pet the best shot at a long, happy life.

Click on this link to learn more about vaccinations and parasite prevention and give yourself peace of mind knowing that you’re doing everything you can to shield your fluffy friend from harm.

The Importance of Dental Checks

Let’s not forget about those pearly whites. Dental health in pets is often overlooked, but it can be a source of chronic pain and other health issues if not properly managed. During routine exams, vets will fancy a look at those teeth and gums, checking for plaque, tartar, and signs of gingivitis or periodontal disease.

If your vet suggests it’s time for a deeper clean or further dental work, don’t fret. There are great veterinary facilities like North Wake Animal Hospital that specialize in keeping your pet’s smile bright and healthy.

Special Tests for Aging Pets

As our pets get older, they might need extra care when it comes to their health. Senior pets often benefit from additional tests, such as:

  • Radiographs (X-rays): To check for arthritis, cancer, or other internal changes.

  • Blood Pressure Measurement: Older pets can develop high blood pressure, which needs monitoring.

  • Eye pressure tests: To rule out glaucoma or other eye conditions.

These tests provide valuable information on aging-related conditions and help vets make comfortable golden years for our pets a reality.

Putting It All Together: Your Role in Your Pet’s Health

Ah, but it’s not all up to the vet. We, as pet owners, have a crucial role to play in our pet’s ongoing health. Keeping an eye on their behavior, eating habits, and exercise, as well as scheduling those important dog annual check up, can make all the difference. It’s about teamwork, and your vet is your co-pilot in this health journey.

Wrapping Up

To sum it all up, routine pet exams are a blend of attentive physical exams and carefully chosen diagnostic tests. They provide a snapshot of your pet’s health and a roadmap for preventive care. By understanding what goes on during these exams, you empower yourself to make informed decisions for your furry family member’s well-being.

Remember that you’re not alone in this—the vet is your guide and partner in ensuring a healthy, happy life for your pet. Stay proactive, stay informed, and keep those routine exams on your calendar. Your pet will thank you, in their own special way, for years to come.